Monday, October 24, 2011

Tips in Avoiding Being Scammed in Rentals

The current economic crisis has created a new more ravenous breed of nefarious individuals aiming to rip off innocent individuals of their hard earned money. One of the more rampant schemes nowadays is a rental scheme that prey upon individuals in need of a roof over their heads. Not only do they lose their rental deposit, many individuals are duped into moving into homes after trusting individuals who did not have the right to rent out the property.

The following are tried and tested tips in avoiding being scammed in rental schemes:

Verify. When finding real estate renting leads, it would be best to verify the listing with the actual property. Many scammers use online services such as or message boards and newspaper advertisements to advertise alleged rentals. Many put much fluff into the ads to entice unwitting renters together with a disposable number. It would be best to visit the property and ask around before handing over your money to an individual you first met on renting a property.

Stories. Many scammers often have heart wrenching back stories to speed up the process of renting. It may be a claim of overseas missionary work or a break up to win the trust of the possible renter. Some would even quote bible verses to fully convince you of the need to fulfill the transaction at the soonest possible time. Checking out their stories as well as taking your time before undertaking the responsibility is key to avoid being scammed in a rental property.

Search. Do a cursory search of the individual as well as the property to be rented. Ask questions regarding the property and the renter’s contract. When the responses are vague or evasive, then this must put you on guard as to the true individual with the power to rent out the property. Many scammers would even rent out the property for a short period and then show the property to prospective renters. After duping them of their money, these short term renters suddenly fly the coop and leave the renter with the property without any right despite payment.

Reputation. Get possible rental leads from a reputed Realtor or agency. These may only be the legal entities with authority to represent the owner of the property. If they claim to be one, verify the name and see their reputation. As for possible renters, do a background check on these people to see their reputation. When these possible renters pay using another person’s check or in amounts different from what has been agreed upon in the contract, then this should put you on guard of a possible scam in the offing.

As can be seen, scams abound in the property market, not only in sales and purchases but even in renting or letting the property. One can avoid being scammed in rental properties by verifying the transaction, checking on the stories, doing a due diligence search and reviewing the background and reputations of the party entering the agreement. Once these are done, the rental can become real and financially rewarding in the long run.

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